Any material that covers and protects the soil can be called mulch. Many different types of mulch are available to homeowners, depending on the appearance you’d like for your yard and your color tastes. Beyond your design aesthetic, did you know there are numerous benefits to mulching, such as improving the cleanness of your garden and controlling weeds? Here are three lesser known reasons why mulching is important to the health of your yard.
- Controlling Temperature — The mid-west is susceptible to late frosts in the spring and there may be areas of your property that contain cold pockets. The proper mulch treatment can help alleviate problems in these trouble areas by maintaining more consistent temperature levels. Mulch acts as an insulator to protect soil from extreme temperature changes by reflecting sunlight so warming is not as radical, allowing more time for changes in soil temperature. Soil that is bare will heat up faster during the day and lose more heat at night.
- Regulating Moisture — Mulch can also reduce moisture loss from the ground due to evaporation, improving soil nutrients and plant growth. More heat is required to raise the temperature in moist soil than dry soil. Nutrients are not lost due to excessive drying in a mulch covered area. Living in an urban environment can increase this problem due to poor soil quality. This is very evident in trees which are in poor condition throughout many urban areas. Mulching around trees can improve tree health by preventing loss of nutrients.
- Increases Plant Fertility — Many backyard mulch suppliers recommend organic mulch which will slowly decompose and add to the nutrients in soil. Softwood and hardwood bark, sawdust, wood chips, and others fall into this category. The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is used to find the best mulch for your area. Check with your local landscaping experts if you need help choosing the correct material. Certain fertilizers can work well with mulch to improve plant health. Plastic mulches will last longer but do not add nutrients to the soil. Plants can establish strong root systems to protect themselves under adverse conditions when fertilizer is used with mulch.
Adding mulch to your yard is important for both the summer and winter months. The numerous varieties available from backyard mulch suppliers make it possible to find the right type for your individual needs, no matter the climate and rainfall in your part of the country. Most experts recommend two to four inches of mulch for most applications. A local professional landscaper can recommend the best mulch products for your area. Mulch slows down all the changes to your soil throughout the year. Your plants can then have the necessary time to adjust to changing conditions. You will have time to enjoy a nicely landscaped property with less work to maintain your lawn and garden.